Monique Moussa: Italia as Text 2019

Tivoli As Text

“A Little Darkness Never Hurt Nobody” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Tivoli, Italy

Did you know beauty can be created from destruction?
And this waterfall is not an example of Roman seduction

Many come near but do not see it’s glory
For far bellow there holds a different story
Two floods have come and recreated the land
But people today come to Tivoli only to get a tan

It is believed that at the bottom of the waterfall is hell
And by the time you get down to see the end, your feet have already swelled
All that can be seen are large rocks and darkness
I for one found grace and tranquility

Just because it might look slightly black and scary
Does it mean that we should turn away in such a hurry?
Should we give those things that might not appeal to the eye or mind a chance?
For all we know, they might enable us to advance

Water is seen to be a symbol of rebirth or of sexuality
Yet many believe that the Villa Gregoriana waterfall represents the brutality
Judging something for only its negative qualities keeps individuals closed minded
In today’s world, we are not so different from that archaic mindset

Analysis:
The waterfall is beautiful in its structure, but its beauty is emphasized when large bushes of green trees surround the waterfall. Just simply listening to the water, the animals, and the wind is relaxing. The Temple of Vesta overlooks the waterfall, and it is almost mocking of all the deaths that the waterfall has caused. Individuals took advantage of the waters dangerous nature to harm people. It creates this negative image of something that should be seen as beautiful. The waterfall is still dangerous but the beauty it has is covered up because of what humanity has done. We tend to not give nature or people that are unattractive or “evil” a chance because that’s how we have been raised. It limits our growth as a society because we can still learn so much from the ugly and evil, and as seen from the waterfall, just because it looks scary, does not mean it’s not also beautiful.

Rome As Text

“It Happened to my People too” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Rome, Italy

We each see something different
Something that stands out to us
When taught about this arch it was hard not to make a fuss
Previous knowledge has lead me to be ignorant

Born and raised as a Palestinian
I always believed Jews were bad
For they took my land that my family has always had
Yet just as everything was taken away from my family
I realized Jewish people have experienced the same agony

Judge me as you might
But at first this was a hard sight
I saw this and I thought of Titus
How his actions had caused great change

I stand there and stare
While my fellow classmates did not treat it with such care
To many this is just an arch of beauty
To me this arch is my duty
Duty to understand and let go of the past

I cannot blame those Jews from the past
Nor should the Jew blame the present day Romans for their outcast

I did not expect to come to Rome and feel a connection to my culture
Yet there I stood and was taken away by this piece of architecture
Jewish people were already exiled from Jerusalem
70 years later Titus defeats the remain Jews
I sympathize for them
What is left for them?
They no longer have a home to call their own

And I again I reflect
So much was taken away from them
And I wonder
How can they do the same that has happened to them to others
How are Palestinians supposed to stand and accept their lands being taken away

I see things differently now than I did before
I do not blame a whole religion for some people’s action
But I learned that history truly does repeat itself
I just never thought I would witness how it would affect me

I need to remember
I hope I do not forget
Just because injustice has happened to my people
I should not judge those who are causing it
Because they too have suffered the same bit

The power of the art in Rome is impactful
For I am not the only one that can experience this
Many individuals of different cultures can resonate with different art pieces
And that is the true power of Rome
No matter how different
Somehow we all feel a connection

Pompeii As Text

“The Struggle of Women Through Time” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Pompeii, Italy

It seems like todays world is all about sex
And who you are going to sleep with next
It is not to say sex isn’t great
But it isn’t a major determinant of fate

For many people today, sex is something you choose to do
But to many in Pompeii it is something women were forced to go through
The city had about 30 brothels
And the women could have sex with men as old as fossils

Back then it was legal
It still does not justify them existing
Some of these prostitutes could acquire a bit of wealth
What about their mental health?

These women would sleep with countless men for money
And to me that seems sad for a women to have to go through
Why must her body be objectified in order for her to survive
It is amazing how far women have come and thrived

And imagine to be in their shoes
Where men could just walk in and pick and choose
They choose what position they like best
As if it isn’t degrading enough that you are just admired for your breasts
But you are also sold to have sex in a position you might not like
And these men would probably never treat you right

Women do not suffer the same struggle now
Prostitution still exists but it is not allowed
Women are still treated like objects to many
The struggle now is the difference in pennies

Women then and now get treated different then men
But now the struggle is equal pay

The women in Pompeii struggled with legal prostitution
Women today struggle with illegal prostitution and unequal pay
For a world that has advanced so far
It does not look like we progressed at all

FLORENCE AS TEXT

“Nudity is Power” By Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Florence, Italy

Is being perfect attainable?
If so who is perfect?
Men? Women? Children?
Who?

Beauty seems to be connected with perfection
For if you are beautiful you are shown more affection
But beauty is said to be subjective
Then the David is also subjectively beautiful

Art connects individuals across cultures
Can all cultures accept nudity and see the elegance of the art?
Art is freedom of expression
Yet there is a large conservation in regards to nude art
Is nudity too indecent?
But it shows who we are, even the itty bitty pieces

But all forms of human bodies should be shown and encouraged as beautiful
Is it more important to hide nudity than it is to show how everyone is lovely?
Lovely even without the expensive clothes or well-applied makeup
Bare to the world even if they do not measure up to social standards

Florence is beautiful in its diversity
Cobblestones in the center
But just outside contains hill of green and calmness
There is it noted shifts in history in the city
Yet it is still beautiful
It is beautiful for being so different and unique

Can we today accept beauty for being different and unique?
We say yes, but are we really
Many still think nudity means indecency
There is the idea that the fewer clothes a person wears the more they ask for attention
Well the David surely gets a lot of attention, but much of it is adoration

Can society not find others nudity just as magnificent and empowering
Why must old sculptures be the only nudity used to empower individuals
Why can art not be made today to the same extent, to lift society
What is holding us back?

Maybe the social norm about nudity needs to be broken down
Once individuals can embrace how they look
Then everyone can feel just as powerful as David when he took down Goliath
Even if they look different from the “normal” person
Just as Florence is different than the normal city

Siena as text

“Children or Power” By Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Siena, Italy

Can you imagine being stuck in time?
Well it isn’t that hard when you have places like Siena
Siena has plenty of art and history from the Middle Ages
It is a city where they still have horse races

It reflects a time of regression
A time where you are expected to follow the word of God without question
It simply is easier to rule when the people fear you
And with all that power, you can change history and make people forget what they knew

Very dark images used to be portrayed
Even images of children that were killed by blades
In the New Testament, there is a story of the Massacre of the Innocent
The story was used to demonstrate the destruction if there was a monarchy

Innocent children were used as a vendetta to keep the church in power
All while there was a fat man that would sit in the nearby bell tower
The lives of children seem to always cause a stir
For who would want to live in a world where the deaths of children would occur

Then the threat of killing children was used as a tactic by the church
Now with recent abortion laws, there is plenty of research
A search to see when a child is considered alive
But it is just a distraction so that politicians can thrive

The innocence of children is used for political propaganda
Just so that it distracts from actual issues that need to be solved
It seems that no matter how much time has passed
Those in power will say or do anything just to keep their position

It is a shame that children are used in this trickery
And those who try to use the innocent to gain power truly do not have much victory

Cinque terRe as text

“Beauty Comes With a Little Effort” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Cinque Terre, Italia

In a place that seems to run for miles and miles
Even after all the hiking it still left me with a smile
It gave me a moment to just lay there and hear the crash of the waves
And I even got stung by a jellyfish when I went swimming into the caves

It is surprising how nature is so pure and simple
Yet it causes most to start showing their dimples
It is almost like an escape from reality
No longer are you looking at your computer screen but rather at the sea

I cannot believe I was able to witness a place like this existing
Where animals, nature, and humans all coexist
A place where the ocean and sky become one
A place where the city glows when light shines on it from the sun

With all the stress from worrying about school and my family
Cinque Terre provided me the chance to go off into a fantasy
It gave me a moment to appreciate everything that I have in my life
Just being in this beautiful city was enough that I did not care for the nightlife

Is it possible to take a part of this land and have it in Miami?
Though there are beaches in Miami people are not nearly as happy
Nature here is pure and not toxic
While in Miami the focus is on the gossip

If I could take one thing and place it in Miami it would be the effort to keep the lands clean
In almost every 100 meters there is a recycling bin
And not just the basic separation of recycled material and other garbage
They separate all recyclables and it’s time Miami gets started

Nature is only beautiful if we allow it to be preserved
So it’s not just Miami that needs to make a change
All of the US needs to start making changes to give the earth a chance it deserves

Venic as Text

“Just Keep Mixing” by Monique Moussa of Florida International University at Venice, Italy

Lightness or darkness
Expression or suppression
Knowledge and science or solely religion
How about a mix

You blink and it’s as though you’re seeing a different part of the world
Blink again and you’ll see something new
Keep looking and you’ll notice a city like no other
A city built on water
That fact alone makes many minds wander
But that is just the beginning of the complexity and beauty of this city

Blowing glass seen on almost every street
Masks sold on every corner
All of which are colorful and radiant
Each representing how unique Venice is

One moment it is sand then it is a beautiful sculpture
Details that are so specific that only a true artist can do
Masks that disguise who you are
Be anyone for a day and simply just hide behind the mask of mystery

Architecture, art, food and so much more are ideas adopted from other places
In this city, it all comes together and creates a new world
A world where different cultures can coexist
Coexisting in a time where it was not allowed

The idea of accepting other cultures can be seen here
Business is business so the color of your skin
Or your religious beliefs do not matter
For every ethnicity that enters this city
Change is made

Built-in 400 CE
Being rebuilt constantly
Yet this city is still like no other
And despite its age
It is far more progressive than many states in the US

Here cultures are accepted despite the social norm
The world needs to learn from this city
This same city that might not exist in 100 years

Places prosper when there is a cultural mix
Not when there’s social isolation

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